James Beard Awards do not advance Ekiben, Foraged or Charleston to next round

Published 3/29/2023 11:29 a.m. EDT, Updated 3/29/2023 12:34 p.m. EDT

Fried oysters at Charleston.
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Baltimore will need to wait for its next James Beard Award: None of the local semifinalists for the food world honors advanced to the nomination round on Wednesday.

Steve Chu of Ekiben and Chris Amendola of Foraged had been named as contenders for best mid-Atlantic chef in January, while Cindy Wolf’s Charleston was up for outstanding hospitality.

At Ekiben, which now has three branches in Baltimore, Chu has developed a passionate fanbase for his take on international cuisine. He also made headlines in 2021 for driving several hours to prepare food for a longtime customer who was terminally ill.

Amendola’s “hyper-seasonal” restaurant, Foraged in Station North, features foraged mushrooms, ramps and other produce. He has also worked to conserve and propagate wild ramps, which face over-harvesting.

And while chef Wolf was not among the individual semifinalists this year, she has received that honor so many times that she has called herself the “Susan Lucci of the James Beard award nominees.” (Lucci was nominated for a Daytime Emmy 19 times before winning for her role on “All My Children.”)

To date, Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen is the only Baltimore chef ever to win a James Beard Award.

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